If future generations are to remember us more with gratitude than sorrow, we must achieve more than just the miracles of technology. We must also leave them a glimpse of the world as it was created, not just as it looked when we got through with it.
--Lyndon B. Johnson

Creation and Spirituality Event, September 9, 2014

PRESS RELEASE

From: San Antonio Interfaith Power & Light and Compassionate San Antonio

Primary Contact: Diane Duesterhoeft | dduesterhoeft@gmail.com | 210-254-0245

CREATION AND SPIRITUALITY: Awakening a Passion for the Environment in People of Faith

What do the major faiths teach us about our relationship with the earth?

On Tuesday, September 9, Dr. William Greenway, Associate Professor of philosophical theology at the Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary, will address this question from an open Christian perspective that focuses on values shared by Buddhist, Hindu, Islamic, Jewish and other great faith traditions of the world. A warm and engaging speaker, Dr. Greenway will allow ample time for questions and discussion on how people of faith can engage in meaningful care for the gift of creation.

The evening is presented by San Antonio Interfaith Power & Light and Compassionate San Antonio. It is being hosted by St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church at 4201 DeZavala Road, from 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm in anticipation of the upcoming Encyclical by Pope Francis on caring for creation. The evening is free and open to the public.

For more information on the sponsoring organizations, go to http://sacompassionnet.org/ and https://www.facebook.com/SanAntonioIPL.

Texas and the Clean Power Plan

The Clean Power Plan is a new EPA proposal for reducing carbon pollution from existing power plants. Currently, there are no national limits on the amount of carbon pollution these plants can pump into the air. The electric power sector is responsible for nearly 40 percent of the carbon dioxide (CO2) pollution in the United States.

The Clean Power Plan proposed rule would:

  • Reduce CO2 pollution 30 percent below 2005 levels by the year 2030;
  • Avoid up to 6,600 premature deaths, up to 150,000 asthma attacks in children, and up to 490,000 missed work or school days—providing up to $93 billion in climate and public health benefits; and
  • Shrink electricity bills roughly 8 percent by increasing energy efficiency and reducing demand in the electricity system.

State-Specific Goals

The plan sets state-specific goals for reducing CO2 emissions from the power sector in order to allow the states flexibility in meeting the reductions targets.

There are many ways states can cut their emissions, including:

  • Installing new clean energy such as wind and solar power   
  • Shutting down high-polluting coal plants
  • Improving the efficiency of fossil-fuel power plants
  • Making homes and buildings more energy-efficient
  • Enacting a state-level tax on carbon pollution

A Look at Texas

Texas emits the highest amount of carbon pollution in the country. In the plan, Texas is expected to reduce its carbon pollution by 39 percent by 2030. Because of our use of wind and natural gas, Texas is already moving closer to the new EPA target.

The Texas Tribune reports on how Texas could meet the EPA's proposed carbon reduction goal here.

What’s Next?

New Extended Deadline! The EPA is now accepting public comments on the Clean Power Plan through December 1, 2014. You can learn more and submit a comment here.

Should the proposed Clean Power Plan go into effect, each state would need to submit its individual proposed plan by June 30, 2016.

For more information, visit:

EPA Carbon Pollution Standards home page.

The EPA Clean Power Proposed Rule page, which includes links to more information and fact sheets.

Interfaith Power & Light statement on the proposed standards 


(Photo ”Wind Turbines” by User Nuala used under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License.)

Watch the Energy Star Webinar Featuring Jerry Lawson Now!

Archived Energy Star Webinar Featuring Jerry Lawson Now Available.

Click "Read More" to watch the video stream now!

Original webinar post here.

Read more in the Action Workbook Summary and learn what's new in Portfolio Manager.

To learn more, you can download the ENERGY STAR Action Workbook for Congregations now.
More resources are available in the Workbook for Congregations Appendix.

2014 Memorial Day Tax-Free Weekend on Energy Efficient Products

Announcing 2014 Memorial Day Tax-Free Weekend on Energy Efficient Products

This Memorial Day Weekend is a great time to invest in reducing your energy use. ENERGY STAR announces Memorial Day sales tax exemption for select energy efficient items. Eligible products meet the energy efficiency guidelines set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy.

The tax-free weekend begins Saturday, May 24, 2014 at 12:01 a.m. and ends on Monday, May 26, 2014 at 11:59 p.m. 

All qualifying products will be labeled with the ENERGY STAR logo. They include:

  • Air conditioners ($6,000 or less)
  • Refrigerators ($2,000 or less)
  • Ceiling fans
  • Incandescent and fluorescent light bulbs
  • Clothes washers 
  • Dishwashers
  • Programmable thermostats

(Note, Clothes dryers are not included)

Please visit the ENERGY STAR website for more information.

Interfaith Environmental Network's Letter To Austin-Area Congregations

The city of Austin is beginning a conversation about its energy future, and TXIPL's Austin affiliate—the Interfaith Environmental Network (IEN)—wants to ensure that the faith community has the information it needs to participate in this important conversation.

On Monday, March 3, 2014, IEN mailed the following letter to over 300 Austin-area congregations:

Download the letter here. (Right-Click and choose "Save Link As...")

Houston IPL Presents an Interfaith Environmental Stewardship Event, March 30, 2014

People of all faiths, or no faith at all, are invited to join with Christians, Hindus, Jews, and Muslims to care for our shared environment on Sunday afternoon, March 30th, from 1:30 – 4:30 p.m.

We will engage in hands-on environmental stewardship by working to create a garden in a disadvantaged neighborhood in Houston. The garden is a program of Almighty Ministries, an organization that empowers at-risk youth from impoverished communities through free after-school programs and summer camps.

The after-school program, Youth Going Green Community Garden, educates youth on developing gardening, leadership and social skills, while providing nourishing food. The garden is located at 4706 Idaho in Houston.

This event will offer garden activities for all ages and skill levels, including building a tool shed, creating more garden beds and another compost bin. Sponsoring organizations include: Christ the King Evangelical Lutheran Church, Congregation Brith Shalom, GYAN (Green Yatra Action Network) – a project of the Living Planet Foundation, the Islamic Society of Greater Houston, and Almighty Ministries.

Contact Lisa at gcs.lrc@gmail.com or 713-372-7345 for more information or to sign up to help.

Webinar: Introducing ENERGY STAR's New Action Workbook for Congregations

The webinar is over, but you can watch the recording here.

Want to help your congregation be a faithful steward of God's creation and save money at the same time? The ENERGY STAR program helps congregations save money and prevent pollution. Join us for a special webinar to introduce the new ENERGY STAR Action Workbook for Congregations from noon-1pm on Tuesday, March 25, 2014.

On the webinar, Jerry Lawson—National Manager of the ENERGY STAR Small Business and Congregations Network of the EPA—will guide us through the new Action Workbook, and will be available to answer your questions.

Read more in the Action Workbook Summary and learn what's new in Portfolio Manager.

To learn more, you can download the ENERGY STAR Action Workbook for Congregations now.
More resources are available in the Workbook for Congregations Appendix.

TXIPL Goes to the White House to #ActOnClimate

On Tuesday, February 25, 2014, TXIPL staff Bee Moorhead and Yaira Robinson will attend a special White House "Faith-based and Community Leaders Addressing Environmental Stewardship and Climate Change" meeting. The event will be live streamed at www.whitehouse.gov/live between 9:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. central time.

In addition, you can follow the conversation on Twitter and post questions during the event by using the hashtag #ActOnClimate. Find Bee's twitter feed at @BeeMoorhead and Yaira's at @YairaRobinson. Feel free to send them your questions and comments throughout the program, too! 

TXIPL looks forward to participating in this meeting, and to bringing information back home to Texas.

A Plea for Climate Action from a Church on the Southern Leg of the Keystone XL

On Friday, January 31, 2014, the U.S. State Department released its final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement for the Keystone XL pipeline. As we wait now for President Obama to decide whether or not to approve the northern leg of the pipeline, oil is already flowing in the southern leg that cuts through East Texas.

We've raised voices of religious concern about construction of the Keystone XL for several years. Read about that here, here, and here. Now, one church on the front lines of the question—Austin Heights Baptist Church in Nacogdoches, Texas—is sending a plea to people of faith across the country to stand with them in concern about climate change and in opposition to this pipeline. Here is their urgent message:

"Most religions of the world insist that one of humanity's responsibilities is to be the steward or caretaker of the earth that was created to nourish us all. With that moral imperative in mind, our East Texas church wishes to encourage faith communities throughout our land to join us in being witnesses that this good earth is the Lord's and is not to be abused, exploited nor destroyed. We hope you’ll join us, too, in making an unmistakable plea to work for an earth capable of sustaining future generations.

For our family of faith, Austin Heights Baptist Church, the issue is immediate and personal. The Keystone XL pipeline lies within a mile of some of our members' homes, and a county school near us has the pipeline on the boundary of the school property, at some points less that 800 feet from the children.

President Obama will soon be making a decision regarding the northern leg of the Keystone XL pipeline, and its delivery of toxic tar sands to Texas for refining—a process guaranteed to hasten further environmental destruction. One leak in the pipe, like in Mayflower, Arkansas or Marshall, Michigan (Kalamazoo River), can change a community forever. The toxic pollutants discharged into the air in the Houston/Beaumont area, too, will alter countless lives. 

We hope and pray that congregations of all faiths will join with us February 14-16, 2014 during the national Interfaith Power and Light Preach-In on Climate Change to make a public statement of this critical need. How your faith community might take this position is up to you—a prayer vigil, march, a demonstration, sermon, an earth-care discussion or other statement or witness.

After the Preach-In on Climate Change has come and gone, there will still be much work to do. Please join us. Time is of the essence.

If your congregation is interested in joining with us to make our united voices heard, please let us know your plans so that we might pray for one another.

Earnestly,

Joe Richardson, Deacon
Kyle Childress, Pastor
Austin Heights Baptist Church
Nacogdoches, TX"

You're Invited! Austin's First-Ever Preach-Off on Climate Change

On Valentine’s Day weekend, 2014, religious communities across the U.S. will participate in the national Interfaith Power & Light Preach-In on Climate Change. Clergy and lay leaders from many different traditions will highlight the importance of religious leadership on one of the most pressing challenges of our time. It’s one of Interfaith Power & Light’s most-beloved annual programs.

In Austin, we’re taking it up a notch.

Austin’s Interfaith Environmental Network and iACT (Interfaith Action of Central Texas) are inviting religious leaders to share their tradition’s wisdom with not just their own congregations, but with the entire community. We are holding our first-ever Preach-Off on Climate Change—and we invite you to come!

Sunday, February 16, 2014, 4:00 p.m.
Congregation Beth Israel
3901 Shoal Creek Blvd.
Austin, TX 78756

What to expect: Learning, community-building, inspiration, and laughter! Our goal is to make this a playful, interactive program that doesn’t skimp on the gravity of the topic at hand or our traditions’ power to help guide us—but that doesn’t skimp on the simple joy and celebration of life and love, either.

  • Religious leaders from a variety of congregations and traditions will share brief teachings (3-5 minutes each) from the messages they delivered to their own communities as part of the Preach-In on Climate Change.
  • We’ll have “judges.” (You’ll have to come to find out what that looks like!)
  • We’ll have an announcer.
  • There may be prizes.
  • For sure, we’ll offer ideas about how you and your community can stay involved and take action on this very real challenge.
  • It will be family-friendly! We’ll have an activity table for kids, so feel free to bring the little ones.

We can’t wait to learn, laugh, and take action on climate change with you.

For more information, to R.S.V.P., or to ask about participating as a speaker, please contact Yaira Robinson or Sarah Macias.

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